Types of Solar Cells in NSW, Australia-2022

Solar Panel is an integral component of the solar system. There are various types of solar cells that are used by companies to manufacture solar panels. The solar system is an important investment like parking your money in real estate, banks, equities and ETFs. Therefore, it becomes crucial for the consumer to be aware of what solar cells are used to manufacture solar panels. They differ in design, components, efficiency, performance and price.

Let’s discuss 4 major types of solar cells that are widely used and are available in NSW & across Australia in 2022.

  • Monocrystalline
  • Polycrystalline
  • PERC
  • N-type & P-type
Monocrystalline Solar Cells
  • Each solar PV cell is made of a single silicon crystal. These are sometimes referred to as “mono solar panels.”
  • Since they are made from pure silicon, it can easily be identified with dark black colour
  • It is the most space-efficient, durable and long-lasting among all other solar panel type
  • It is the most expensive as numerous silicon is wasted to manufacture one monocrystalline cell
Polycrystalline Solar Cells
  • Each PV cell is made of multiple silicon crystal fragments that are melted together during manufacturing
  • You may see them called “multi-crystalline panels” or “poly panels.”
  • However, the crystalline silicon structure of individual solar cells affects their performance and appearance.

Key Differences between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Solar Cells

FactorsMonocrystalline Solar CellsPolycrystalline Solar Cells
Silicone ArrangementOne pure silicon crystalMany silicon fragments melted together
Manufacturing ProcessRigorous and Intensive
CostExpensiveLess expensive
More efficient
Less efficient
AppearanceDark black hue
Blue Hue
25-40 years
12-25 years
Temperature Coefficient
Lower temperature coefficient
Higher temperature coefficient

Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) Solar Cells

PERC solar cells are an improvement of the traditional monocrystalline cell. In recent years, they have become more popular for solar manufacturers. PERC solar cells produce 5% to 13% more energy compared to conventional panels.

They have an extra layer at the back of the cell. Therefore, sun rays reflect back into the solar cell allowing an opportunity to capture more energy.

Key Benefits of PERC panels

Increased Energy Production

A PERC solar panel is 1% more efficient than conventional solar panels. However, it may seem minute, but on a full PV system, this can add up to around 7%-9% more energy.

Enhanced Low-Light and High-Heat Conditions

PERC solar cells have exceptional performance in both low-light and high-heat conditions. This boosts the energy by 2%-4%

Smaller Roof Optimisation

Since PERC solar panels are more efficient and deliver more energy, fewer solar panels are required to deliver the same output than traditional panels. Therefore, solar panels with PERC cells are extremely beneficial for the smaller roof.

Lower Balance of System and Installation Costs

Fewer PERC solar panels are required to achieve the same output; therefore, the customers can save costs on installations, labour and balance of the system costs.

Same Manufacturing Costs

Over the years, the prominent factor of PERC cell growth is the cost of manufacturing which is as same as conventional solar panels. Solar manufacturers like Hyundai Energy Solutions, Trina Solar and REC have adopted this technology offering the customer a premium product with the best in quality.

Let’s explore more with a comparison between PERC and Traditional solar cells

System CostsPERC Solar CellsTraditional Solar Cells
Panel Costs$5000$4500
Installation Costs$2000
Components Costs
System Costs
System Output

Cost per Watt


Well, you can see PERC solar panels cost $500 more than traditional solar panels but it also produces 0.50kW more energy. Therefore, with fewer panels with the same installation and component costs, PERC solar cells add value to the customer in the long run with value for money.

What is N-type and P-type solar cells?

We have probably heard of N-Type and P-Type solar cells; however, the buyer isn’t giving in-depth attention to whether solar panels are made with N-type or P-type solar cells. Let’s find out what they mean and the science behind solar cells.

First of all, the conventional crystalline silicon solar cell is a silicon wafer doped with various chemicals to encourage power production.

The primary difference between N-type and P-type solar cells is the number of electrons. An N-type cell is doped with phosphorus that has one more electron than silicon (it makes the cell negatively charged). A P-type cell dopes its silicon wafer with boron that has one less electron than silicon (it makes the cell positively charged).

The first solar cell invented by Bell labs in 1954 was N-type; however, the P-type structure became more popular due to the demand for solar technologies in space. They were proven to be more resistant to space radiation and degradation. However, solar manufacturers have a different view among n-type and it has attracted them for quite a long time as it has massive benefits.

  • N-type cells use phosphorous instead of boron, they are prone to boron-oxygen defects. This leads to  decreased efficiency
  • N-type cells are more efficient and are not affected by LID (Light Induced Degradation)

Let’s compare N-type and P-type solar cells in tabular form that will help to get the clear understanding

Cell TypeEfficiencySilicon BaseHigh Temperature CoefficientDegradationCost
N-TypeHigherPhosphorousHigher ToleranceNot affected by LIDHigher
P-TypeLowerBoronLower ToleranceAffected by LIDLower
Popular and World-Leading Solar Panel Brands

The most popular solar panel brand, REC has a series of N-type panels ranging from Twin Peak 370W to its revolutionised and high efficient REC Alpha Pure-R 410W with 92% performance & 22.30% efficiency.

In May 2022, Trina launched N-type Vertex S+ solar panels hitting 21.90% efficiency, and Sun power Maxeon 6 hitting 21.80%.

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